Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Frances Townsend Lands Intelligence Association Board Chair

Baker Botts L.L.P. Partner Frances Fragos Townsend has been named chairman of the Board of Directors of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance. INSA is a nonprofit, non-ideological, professional association created to improve our nation's security.

One might expect a professional association to appoint a professional as their Board Chair. Frances Townsend omitted any mention of the hospital with the highest death toll from the Bush White House Lessons Learned report on Hurricane Katrina.

James A. Baker, III is one connection between Fran's employment and her hapless investigation. Baker has long time ties to The Carlyle Group, a politically connected private equity underwriter. Carlyle owned LifeCare Hospitals, which lost 24 patients in Katrina.

Mr. Baker surely knew of this omission when he created a consulting division for Fran in his law firm. James has a similar reputation in performing investigations. He conducted one Texas City BP explosion study, which killed 15 workers. His report went soft on CEO Lord John Browne. Shortly after the report's release, the good Lord landed a job with Carlyle's energy joint venture, Riverstone Holdings.

How much intelligence does it take to note something stinky? In addition to Fran's omission, Carlye and Riverstone paid the New York Attorney General a combined $50 million to make a pay for play investigation go away. Can you bribe your way out of a bribery investigation? That's something worth investigating, but INSA won't do it, not under Mrs. Townsend's Chairwomanship. That pattern is clear.

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